In­ter­na­tional folk art mar­ket to draw thou­sands to NewMex­ico

China Daily (USA) - - LIFE - By SUSANMONTOYA BRYAN in Santa Fe, N.M. As­so­ci­ated Press

From the plains of Africa to wartorn coun­tries in the Mid­dle East, nearly 200 artists from around the world will be show­ing off their tra­di­tional crafts dur­ing the world’s largest folk art mar­ket.

The In­ter­na­tional Folk Art Mar­ket, now in its 13th year, will fea­ture wares from ev­ery cor­ner of the globe, whether fine em­broi­dery or hand­wo­ven bas­kets. Artists from more than 60 coun­tries will help kick off the fes­tiv­i­ties that run Fri­day evening through Sun­day on Santa Fe’s Mu­seum Hill. Some 20,000 vis­i­tors are ex­pected.

This year marks an op­por­tu­nity to cel­e­brate dif­fer­ences de­spite on­go­ing strife around the globe, or­ga­niz­ers said.

“Now that we’re in this sit­u­a­tion where the coun­try and the world are more di­vided than ever, we are bring­ing more peo­ple from dif­fer­ent cul­tures to­gether,” co-founder and au­thor Carmella Padilla said. “More peo­ple are com­ing to­gether than ever with what they have in com­mon, with what they value most in many ways — tra­di­tions and hand­made beau­ti­ful work that are ex­pres­sions of their cul­ture.”

In­fused in the mar­ket is a cre­ative spirit that seems to erase the neg­a­tiv­ity that has dom­i­nated global head­lines, Padilla said.

Judy Espinar, an­other co-founder and folk art ex­pert, de­scribed the event as “an an­ti­dote” for what’s ail­ing the world. She says the par­tic­i­pat­ing artists might be bound by lan­guage or po­lit­i­cal bar­ri­ers, but their work pro­vides a new kind of lan­guage that helps them re­late to one an­other and to col­lec­tors.

About 850 folk artists from more than 90 coun­tries have par­tic­i­pated since the mar­ket’s in­cep­tion. Sales have to­taled $23 mil­lion, nearly all of which has gone home with the artists to help with ba­sic needs and count­less com­mu­nity im­prove­ment projects.

More than 700 artists ap­plied to be part of the mar­ket this year. Two pan­els of ex­perts pore over the ap­pli­ca­tions to select the best work. Even though fewer than 200 were cho­sen, or­ga­niz­ers say many of the artists rep­re­sent co­op­er­a­tives that are made up of thou­sands of peo­ple.

Among the artists is a co­op­er­a­tive of­wom­enin Gu­atemala that has put a mod­ern, more­sus­tain­able twist on the Mayan tra­di­tion of tex­tiles. In­stead of rais­ing sheep or buy­ing wool, the women are us­ing re­cy­cled T-shirts, sweat­shirts and other cloth­ing to fash­ion hooked rugs fea­tur­ing tra­di­tional de­signs.

Since the cot­ton rem­nants are cheaper than wool, the women have been­able to use the prof­its­fromtheir work to re­place tat­tered cloth win­dow cov­er­ing with glass and iron bars. One was able to bring a wa­ter pipe to her kitchen and buy a cast sink to wash the fam­ily’s cloth­ing.

In Afghanistan, a tra­di­tion of fine em­broi­dery that was al­most lost in the days of the Tal­iban has been re­vived with the help of artist Rang­i­naHamidi. The so­ci­ety she founded now serves as a way for women to safely sup­port their fam­i­lies and pro­vide funds for lit­er­acy, health care and other train­ing.

There are also women in Rwanda mak­ing peace bas­kets, those in Laos pro­duc­ing silk weav­ings and those in the rain for­est of Pana­maw­house the sa­cred black palm tree to craft bas­kets, with the pro­ceeds go­ing to re­claim­ing their tra­di­tional lands.

Some works are af­ford­able. Oth­ers are mu­seum-qual­ity mas­ter­pieces. Al­most all are in­spired by cus­toms that date back cen­turies

from ev­ery cor­ner of the globe. More peo­ple are com­ing to­gether than ever with what they have in com­mon, with ... tra­di­tions and ... work that are ex­pres­sions of their cul­ture.” In­ter­na­tional Folk Art Mar­ket co-founder

Carmella Padilla, and in some years.

“In telling their sto­ries, they have cometo learn the world is in­ter­ested in them,” Espinar said. “It’s not be­cause they’re odd or dif­fer­ent. This is be­cause of beauty and mean­ing. Those are the two things we can’t get enough of.” cases, thou­sands of

DARRIN ZAM­MIT LUPI / REUTERS

The In­ter­na­tional Folk Art Mar­ket, now in its 13th year, will fea­ture wares

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